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Does AHCC help against the coronavirus?

Does AHCC help against the coronavirus?
The corona virus is now rapidly spreading, and one country after another is going into lockdown. There is no vaccine yet - and it is not clear whether there are supplements that can reduce the risk of infection or reduce the severity of the infection. Italian researchers suspect that AHCC, a glucan from the edible mushroom shiitake, may be such a supplement.

The researchers
The researchers are connected to the Italian company Velleja Research. [] Velleja Research develops ingredients for butritional supplements, and specializes in methods to enhance the bioavailability of natural compounds like green tea extracts, probiotics and curcumin. As far as we know, Velleja Research is not into AHCC.

The publication
In their article, which will be published shortly in Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica, the researchers summarize what scientists have published so far on AHCC and virus infections. The article is therefore not a report of experiments, but a scientifically based opinion piece.

Corona infection
The coronavirus targets the lungs. After infection, the innate immune system attacks the infected lung cells aggressively. These atacks damage the lungs. Holes appear in the epithelium and dead cells accumulate.

Especially in the elderly and people with a weakened immune system, the coronavirus turns the lungs into a biotope in which other germs, such as bacteria, multiply. These microorganisms, in turn, provoke even more immune responses. This results in acute lung injury [ALI] and respiratory problems [acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS], which can be potentially fatal.

Animal studies indicate that interferon-gamma protects against acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome. [Semin Immunopathol. 2017;39(5):529-39.] Interferon-gamma is an inflammatory protein that activates the immune system, apparently in a way that inhibits viral infection but spares lung tissue.

Does AHCC help against the coronavirus?

Supplementation activates Natural Killer Cells, Natural Killer T-cells and gamma delta-T cells, the researchers write. These immune cells produce interferon gamma.

The effects of AHCC on cells, laboratory animals or people infected with a coronavirus have never been investigated. However, the Italians found studies in the medical literature in which supplementation with AHCC had a positive effect on infection with other viruses - including viruses that resemble the coronavirus.

Click on the figure below for a larger version.

Does AHCC help against the coronavirus?

A number of studies have been presented at conferences, but have not been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, the Italians rush to say. We, the ever-critical compilers of this free web warehouse, would like to add that much of the AHCC research happens to be sponsored...

Minerva Gastroenterol Dietol. 2020;10.23736/S1121-421X.20.02697-5.

AHCC increases chances of survival after being infected with a deadly virus 10.02.2020
Flu shot works better with AHCC 23.02.2013

Immune System

Oyster mushroom glucans prevent virus infections Less fatigue, a better immune system yet training hard - thanks to beta-glucans Glucans from mushrooms protect against virus infections

Oyster mushroom glucans prevent virus infections
A supplement containing beta-glucans from oyster mushrooms plus vitamin C protects children with a malfunctioning immune system against cold and flu viruses.

Less fatigue, a better immune system yet training hard - thanks to beta-glucans
If you have to cope with severe physical stress - for example, because you train hard - supplementation with beta glucans may at the same time reduce fatigue and keep your immune system strong.

Glucans from mushrooms protect against virus infections
According to the study, glucans not only make the innate immune system more aggressive, but they also speed up the production of antibodies by the adaptive part of the immune system.